U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., introduced legislation that would help speed up deployment of broadband internet service to rural areas, his office announced Tuesday.
The Accelerating Broadband Connectivity Act of 2020 would authorize the Federal Communications Commission to create a $6 billion fund to be awarded to winners of the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. The RDOF auction will provide $20.4 billion to providers to build out rural broadband infrastructure, but there are concerns that the timeline for completing the projects is too long.
Wicker’s legislation would authorize the FCC to provide significant additional awards to bidders that complete their rural broadband projects on a shorter timeline, helping underserved areas access better internet service more quickly.
“One of my top priorities is expanding access to broadband for communities of all sizes,” Wicker said. “The coronavirus pandemic has further underscored this pressing need, and I hope our legislation will advance quickly to meet the connectivity needs of Americans living in rural areas, including many in my home state of Mississippi.”